Thursday, 28 April 2011

Forget me Knot

Just got back from the Cleethorpes Memorial service for workers on International workers Memorial Day. Despite the melancholy nature of the event I think it went pretty well. The weather was good, nice and sunny with a cooling sea breeze, and there was a big turnout, with delegates and speakers from the local Labour group both Council and party, every Trade Union operating in our region (North East Lincolnshire, and North Lincolnshire there's a bit of an overlap) relatives of some of those killed in work related accidents in our area Unfortunately Northern Lincolnshire, is above the national average in this regard due to the towns Scunthorpe, Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Immingham and the surrounding villages are home to a large number of refineries and chemical plants, which contribute to the injuries and deaths from warehouse and factory accidents. There was even a delegation from the local Liberals ,well only two of them, but to there credit these two had supporting the event and the campaign for recognition before that, and kept the speech non-partisan so I have no objections to there attendance. Strangely though no local Tories turned up, maybe they collectively had a scheduling mishap, perhaps something had gone awry with the royal wedding preparations? or they didn't fancy having to answer for the ConDems "Easing business regulation" plans that will gut Health and Safety measures on our docks, airports and transport hubs? who can say if they won't.

Unfortunately since this was a memorial service it wasn't long before the content started to but dampen the mood. 151 killed in work related deaths in UK last year, and that figure does not include those killed while driving, or those whom have succumb from a work related injury or illness contracted several years prior. And an estimate of 2 million killed on the job globally. The speakers made a very good point, if every work related death received an eighth of the media attention that are service men receive when then sadly are killed in relation to there work (funny since the army used to a few years ago advertise the statistics that your more likely to be killed in a civilian occupation then as a front-line servicemen)then there would be a lot more pressure on government and employers to clean up there act.

If a country lost two million in a year due to war, there would be a lot of questions being asked to why, are the Generals incompetent? is the equipment or training inadequate? and what solutions are being offered to prevent next years 2 million casualties. But alas work related injury and deaths do not receive much attention, outside of the Morning Star. I couldn't even find details about today's service in the local paper I had to ring up a friend and double check the starting time.

Even big global disasters that are guaranteed to sell copies and get viewers usually ignore the human costs, like the Oil rig of the coast of the US, how much time was spent on the 11 workers killed in the explosion before the "mainstream" newsreaders started discussing things like stock hits and loss of confidence? not much. They didn't even bother covering the environmental impact in detail until heartbreaking pictures of oil covered animals started coming in. Nor did they show much interest in the loss of livelihoods suffered by the small fishermen and local business until people started getting angry and the issue of compensation numbering in the hundred millions started to turn a few heads.

In short we must as this memorial day implores us, remember the dead and continue to fight for the living.

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